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AUSTRALIAN PROPERTY INSTITUTE GENERAL PROPERTY

NSW bans combustible cladding

London's Grenfell tower
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THE New South Wales government has banned the use of combustible cladding from today, joining its Victorian counterpart.

The ban comes into force on today, Wednesday 15 August 2018. Manufacturers are being provided with at least 48 hours’ notice of the intention to impose the ban in accordance with the Building Products (Safety) Act 2017.

NSW Commissioner for Fair Trading, Rose Webb announced a ban on building products using aluminium composite panels with a core comprised of greater than 30% polyethylene by mass in any external cladding, external wall, external insulation, façade or rendered finish in certain multi storey buildings, subject to specific exceptions.

The ban includes:

Class 2, 3 and 9 buildings of three storeys and higher, and Class 5, 6, 7 and 8 buildings of four levels and higher (Type A construction as defined in the Building Code of Australia); and

Class 2, 3 and 9 buildings of two storeys and higher, and Class 5, 6, 7 and 8 buildings of three storeys and more (Type B construction as defined in the Building Code of Australia).

“Having considered all of this information, I am satisfied that the building product is unsafe for use in any external cladding, external wall, external insulation, façade or rendered finish in buildings of Type A and Type B construction, as defined in the Building Code of Australia, subject to specified exceptions. I therefore decided to prohibit the use of the building product.

“Given that the Victorian Building Authority also enforces a restriction on ACP with a core specifically comprised of 30% or more PE by mass, it is considered appropriate to align NSW’s building product use ban with the requirements of the second largest state in which construction work is performed,” Webb said.

A corporation found to be using a banned building product can be fined up to $1.1 million and individuals can be fined up to $220,000.

Australian Property Institute Life Fellow and International Fire Safety Standards (IFSS) coalition member Robert Hecek applauded the NSW government’s move.

Hecek said inconsistency is the danger and called on other state and territory governments, who have yet to act, to adopt similar measures.

“This is a good and positive move for the industry in NSW. Although it highlights that in Australia, only two state governments have acted. We need a consistent approach nationally,”

Hecek said consistency offers certainty for the industry including lenders, developers, building owners and investors.

Hecek is currently working with the IFSS coalition to introduce fire safety standards globally.

Lenders already require valuers undertaking valuations of real property to identify and report whether the building “appears to be clad”.

The NSW government’s decision follows Victoria, which in March this year announced a similar ban on aluminium cladding panels with a polyethylene core of more than 30%, along with expanded polystyrene.

The two state bans were in response to the fires at London’s Grenfell Tower and Melbourne’s Lacrosse apartment complex.

It is unclear how many buildings are affected by the NSW ban, although in June, Fire & Rescue NSW assessed 2,280 buildings and found 417 are potentially at risk.

Meanwhile last year, the Victorian Cladding Taskforce identified 1,369 buildings at risk across the state. Of those buildings, it is since been established that 579 have not begun construction, and a further 129 are half built.

Australian Property Journal